Tuesday, September 24

Cardinal Keeler of Baltimore to release names of the 80+ priests accused of sexual abuse over the past seventy years.

Keeler will release details about the accused priests during a meeting Wednesday with clergy, and then will release the information, including the names of the priests, to the public. The information will be posted on the archdiocesan Web site Wednesday afternoon at www.archbalt.org.In the letter, Keeler offered his most detailed and personal apology for his failings in the sexual abuse scandal that has shaken the American Catholic Church for most of the past year."My fellow bishops and I must respond to the violence already visited on our children by saying we are sorry," Keeler wrote. "At times, we have let our fears of scandal override the need for the kind of openness that helps prevent abuse. In the past, we sometimes have responded to victims and their families as ad versaries, not as suffering members of the Church. I am deeply sorry for the harm done to children entrusted to our care." In the letter, Keeler spoke more personally: "I humbly ask forgiveness for my mistakes. Please pray for me so that I may better serve."

Peter Nixon weighs in on our HV/NFP discussion
In France, immigrants have been planting themselves in churches for sanctuary.

French bishops would like them to stop, now, s'il vous plait.

A little late on this one, too (and it was only yesterday!), but very good reading:

The attack of the megachurches with their ...

Prestonwood Baptist Church, in Plano, Texas, near Dallas, has 15 ball fields, a '50s-style diner and a fitness center. It soon will add a coffee shop and a food court.Brentwood Baptist Church in Houston has a McDonald's. The church commissioned demographic research to see how it could serve its 10,000 members and reach out to more. It found a shortage of restaurants in the neighborhood of the 111-acre church campus. So Brentwood five months ago became the first to have a McDonald's franchise on church grounds -- drive-through window and golden arches included. The restaurant is open to the public during regular church hours. Because proceeds go to the church's youth programs, customers pay no sales tax.

At issue are legal questions - because these are churches, their growth is limited only by their resources and desire, no matter what the neighbors think or want.

Thanks to Woodeene at HMS Blog for pointing us to this site dedicated to that amazing photograph of a couple of years back of a tiny baby reaching out of the womb during surgery.
Over the past few days, I've read Jean Cash's new biography of Flannery O'Connor

It's a book that was necessary - the first full-length biography of O'Connor that sets it all out for us, and makes the connections clear, particularly in her relationships. You get a sense of that in reading the letters, of course, but here, Cash lays it out so that we can understand, for example, who exactly Cecil Dawkins was and how O'Connor met her and what was the particular focus of their correspondence. Cash gives a good idea of what life at Andalusia was like. It's a very competent treatment, and quite helpful in that regard.

However, there's a soul and spirit missing. Granted, it's a tough subject, and Cash was particularly hampered, as all researchers are, by the continuing issues of permissions to quote from unpublished materials still held by the O'Connor estate. Sally Fitzgerald had a difficult enough time getting permission from O'Connor's mother to reprint what letters she did in The Habit of Being. Although Regina's been dead for several years now, the family is still very cautious with permissions - you can really see it in Cash's book when she must talk around the content of certain letters, giving us only tantalizing hints as to their content.

But part of what's lacking lies in the workmanlike focus of the book. O'Connor's death, for example, is dealt with in about two sentences. We're left wondering - was anyone with her when she died? Was she suffering? What was the reaction of family and close friends to her death? We get nothing...

In the beginning of the book, too, are several bizarre misstatements of, if not Catholic theology, then Catholic sensibility. In reporting on O'Connor's parochial school education in Savannah, for example, we're told that two other girls who went to the same school, recall a good basic elementary education, but did not recall "reading any treatises by Catholic scholars." Oh. I'm sure the 2nd grade Catholic school students in, say, Philadelphia, were fortunate to be reading their Maritain while the little Savannah kids suffered.

As I said, this is a necessary first step, but only a first step. If you're interested in O'Connor, you'll definitely find it worthwhile.

And you might also find it worthwhile to learn that Conan O'Brien did his senior thesis at Harvard on Flannery O'Connor.

In the NFP thread below, someone asked about my views. Well, I'm a Catholic, so there.

Honestly - my understanding of the Catholic tradition on this matter would take several thousand words to thoroughly vet, and I just don't have that time - after October 15 or so I will, but not now. Let me just say this:

There is, of course, no question that the Church's moral tradition has always stood in opposition to artificial contraception. What is problematic are these points:

What was the relationship of this stance to a)scientific understandings that are now proven to be false and b)notions of marriage and marital sexuality that the Church has slowly abandoned over the past two centuries?

So, while the Church's moral tradition (as articulated in the works of theologians and in the penitentials, for the most part rather than in Rome-generated documents) has stood against artificial contraception, would it have, up to the modern era, ever embraced an NFP-type approach to married sexuality as legitimate?

On the other hand, I have to puzzle you even further by saying that >Humane Vitae was not a mistake, either in content or timing.. Although I have problems with some of the logic as well as some of the specific conclusions, I shudder to think of the alternative to the issuance of this encyclical. Although the voices against the contraceptive culture are not terribly strong inside the Church, just imagine the scenario if a stand had not been publicly taken when it was. Certainly, the Church's teaching had been opposed to artificial contraception before this, and would not have changed, but the silence would have been defeaning, and a de facto unthinking absorption of new contraceptive technologies, most of which function as abortifaciants at least some of the time, into the Catholic moral universe.

Most people I know, even those who use artificial contraception, live with an intution that HV is correct. Let's put it this way: everyone "wishes" that their sexual relationship with their spouse could be as natural as possible. Most people wish they didn't "have to worry" about conceiving. For some, that means that's rooted in an absolute desire not to have any more children, but in more than you know, it's rooted in a wish that they had it in themselves or could find it in themselves to indeed, welcome more children into their lives. I put that all together, and what I sense is a yearning for an ideal - just as so many of us wish we could live more simply, be happier with less, be more direct and forthright in our relationships, and so on. It is a yearning and a nudge in the conscience that really does look at the pills and all the other equipment - and, dare we say, even the thermometer? - and sense that "this is not the way it's supposed to be."

And finally, if you want to know how I feel - as opposed to what I think - read the last chapter of The British Museum is Falling Down by David Lodge. That just about captures it, I'd say.

You probably saw this blogged somewhere yesterday, but this Globe article on the slow pace of the Archdiocesan investigations into abuse accusations is an outraged for victims, accused, and Truth in general.

This is why new leadership is needed in that Archdiocese.

Fordham students angered over Columbia band's halftime hijinks.

As Rod Dreher points out in The Corner, the Columbia band apparently always specializes in tasteless jabs at the opposition.

Would you like access to the Roman Breviary in traditional language? Then Go here!
Six hours. Six hours in a row. Sleeping. Comfortably.

Do you know how long it's been since I've experienced that?

TWO YEARS - since the middle of my last pregnancy.

I'd forgotten what it feels like.

Bishop McCormack says donations are down in his diocese.
David Klinghoffer reflects on religion in Seattle and the nation:

I came out to Seattle from New York three years ago and was immediately struck by the religiosity of my new metro area. The sprawling eastside suburbs are suffused with evangelical Christianity.I saw the difference the first morning I was here: In a Starbucks, a young white guy reading a Bible. You would never see that in Manhattan. The pattern has persisted. I'm at a Wells Fargo bank, asking an investment adviser about mutual funds, and the guy starts telling me what his pastor was talking about in church the other week. A dapper older black guy sells me a used Volvo and starts telling me about his church. At a Jewish Sabbath lunch of all places, another guest who happens not to be Jewish gets into a conversation with me and very sweetly starts witnessing to me right there.

An outreach of Feminists for Life: Women Deserve Better
Which circle of hell for this one?

In Japan, a doctor's daughter dies while he is performing abortion on her.

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